Fringing on the Past: Edinburgh Festival Video Logs

The 'Fringe Faces' perform the "The French queer dance" !

The Edinburgh Festival will be bigger than ever this year, in fact, it will be physically impossible to watch even a tenth of the 2453 shows on offer. To get ourselves in the mood we’ve been watching some archive Fringe films, in particular this great 1963 video log.

We love some of the stranger acts on offer. Today many of the Fringe’s acts are mega stars, with appearances from television faces Russell Brand, Ricky Gervais and Simon Amstell. Back in the 60s it really was people on the outer fringes of stardom…!

The festival is understandably a very commercial affair today, but its roots are planted in a passion for the arts as can be seen in British Pathe’s footage of the festival. The 1963 video shows Benjamin Britten discussing music with the festival’s then artistic director Lord Harewood.

Some posters from the 1963 Edinburgh Fringe

From Hot Pot to Blackpool’s Hotties: Lancashire’s Past On Film

Last Monday BBC Radio Lancashire spoke to Alastair White from the British Pathe film archive about Lancashire’s rich and varied history, much of which was captured on film by British Pathe. Certainly some of Lancashire’s most momentous moments, including an FA Cup victory and key milestones in the war effort, make for a fascinating watch.
Here are links to some of the videos discussed on the show, and below is a general link to the entire Lancashire collection.
One of the first challenges that archivists had to tackle whilst putting together this footage was sorting through hundreds of newsreels and videos on Liverpool and Manchester, both cities being listed as ‘Lancashire’ in the canister notes and filed away as so in British Pathe’s Pinewood vault, as the footage pre-dates the county’s boundary alterations!
Babies battle it out on the catwalk to be donned Lancashire's cutest


Blackpool Pier goes up in flames, 1938

Brilliant aerial footage, one of the biggest breaking news stories in Britain that day.

Geoffrey Lloyd leads a forboding Gas Mask demonstration in Blackburn, 1937

 Lancashire was at the forefront of the war effort.

"Every bit as nice as Miami" - A great 1930 swimwear show in Blackpool!

Beauty Pageants and fashion shows aimed at holidaymakers are a well established tradition in Blackpool. The British Pathe website has many videos of these fun events. Brrrr.

The Cotton Queen, 1936. A Beauty pageant for mill workers' daughters.

The narration in this Cotton Queen video is quite amusing. What happened to the Cotton Queen anyway? We think Lancashire should bring the contest back, don’t you?

Blackpool wins the FA Cup against Bolton Wanderers 4-3 in 1953.

Watch 60 more great archive videos of Lancashire’s past here in the British Pathe film archive.

Wonders of the World Cup: Germany Vs England

Can the England team match up to their 1956 predecessors?

On Sunday millions of us will be chewing our nails until they bleed as England play Germany in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Despite almost 70 years of peace, it’s hard for many Britons to watch sporting events against Germany without old emotions churning from those wars and rivalries of the past that are over yet all but long forgotten. What actually happens when England play Germany in a World Cup match these days? Is Terry’s team capable of taking on the challenge witout making it a cringing embarrassment? Of course there’s the infamous 1966 game, but that’s no accurate reflection of the countries’ respective match history.

British Pathe have several great film clips of Germany and England going head to head in the World Cup. There was the match where Germany beat England 1-0 in 1968. There was the time that England defeated Germany 3-1 in 1956. And what about that crazy 1935 match. See – you didn’t know as much as you thought, did you?

Watch videos of Germany and England battling it out on the pitch together here.

England waged war against Germany on the pitch in 1935

Great video footage of Le Mans 24-hour race + Jeff Koons Art Car for Le Mans 2010

Where is Le Mans happening this year? Just kidding. Although actress Cameron Diaz did once famously ask an aid where the Cannes film festival was going to be held that summer. The 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans will be taking place on the 12th of June, so in five days time! Known as the Grand Prix of endurance, we love this 1962 clip of the LE MANS race the roars of the engines, the classic narrator – “By morning, only 21 cars still running, most of them Italian”, the dramatic music score and harrowing throw-away close-ups of roadside wreckages!

Everyone’s been watching this video footage of the famous 1955 Le Mans Disaster online. Between 80 and 120 spectators were killed after a Mercedes car flew off the track into the crowd making it the most catastrophic accident in motorsports history. Watch the video of the Le Mans disaster and then read about the horrific accident here on the official Wikipedia page.

If you Google “Le Mans Footage” the British Pathé clip comes up. We recommend watching this footage of the 1964 Le Mans race too.

Pictured above is an ‘art car’ designed by Jeff Koons for this year’s Le Mans race. (Source: Andy Warhol, like most things, did one in the past. And before anyone mentions Damien Hirst and his polka-dot Mini, check out this magnificent video of students in the 60s decorating a Mini, it’s fabulous: Students decorate a Mini!

In other Le Mans news: Le Mans Classic will also be coming up in July. Gautier Rossignol from Peter Auto, the race organisers, said “We can now confirm that the race dates for the Le Mans Classic will be from the 9th – 11th July 2010. We hope that many British car clubs and individuals will be able to join us for more fun an excitement.” (Source So that’s something to look forward to next month!

Search ‘Le Mans’ into the British Pathé Film Archive to lap up some great shots of Le Mans and other motorsports treats. … Vrooooom…

Just wearing one of those Breton jumpers can unleash a previously hidden dangerous artistic temperament
Warhol came up with everything first, including the concept of Pimp My Ride

Grand Prix Videos: The Victories, The Celebrities, The Crashes

Neeeeow - Kent, 1968

The Grand Prix started in 1894, British Pathé started in 1897, and so naturally a strong media partnership evolved between the two companies. British Pathé  were there on the side of the road filming the hottest Grand Prix races of the 20th century. British Pathé cameramen were at all the after parties too, talking to the it-girls as they swooned and crooned for a racing driver boyfriend, or even a Royal marriage. British Pathé were also sadly there to film the crashes, the flips, the Formula 1 knife edge between life and death when a strong swerve sent things spiralling out of control.

From the swank celebrities of the Monaco Grand Prix to the calming countryside of Rouen in France, you can watch a host of magnificent behind the wheel videos in the British Pathé archive from the safety of your own wheelie chair.

See the entire collection here of Grand Prix videos, or pick from a selection of popular drivers below:

Video of driver Jack Brabham

Tony Maggs, Graham Hill, John Surtees and winner Dan Gurney

Mike Hawthorn, Jean Behra and Peter Collins

Guy Ligier, Jim Clark and Bob Anderson

Nevermind looking for their next line of Charlie, back in those days it-girls were looking for a chat with Prince Charlie himself.